Denny Hamlin is hoping a milestone start will help him overcome what has been somewhat of a jinx that he’s battled throughout his NASCAR Cup career.
Hamlin will make the 500th start of his Cup career Sunday at Dover International Speedway. He’ll also start from the pole for the fourth time of his career at the 1-mile oval.
But for all his success to lead the field to green at the all-concrete banked track, Hamlin still has yet to win his first Cup race at Dover. He hopes to change that Sunday in his 28th Cup start there.
Hamlin has just four top-five finishes at Dover, with his best outing being a runner-up finish to Chase Elliott in last fall’s playoff race there.
Harvick won the pole during Saturday’s qualifying with an effort of 166.984 mph, getting past Kyle Larson, who will start on the outside pole after recording a speed of 166.960 mph.
Martin Truex Jr. will start third (166.205 mph). That was after Truex’s engineer, James Small, was ejected from the track Saturday morning after the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota failed twice to pass pre-qualifying inspection.
Truex will be joined on Row 2 by Kevin Harvick (165.998 mph).
Row 3 will have last Sunday’s Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval winner Chase Elliott (165.937 mph) and Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron (165.738 mph).
Points leader Kyle Busch (164.144 mph) will start from the 18th position.
Chase Elliott is the defending winner of this race, while Truex won in May at the Monster Mile.
The race is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on NBCSN.
Click here for Cup starting lineup.
NASCAR’s playoff weekend resumes today at Dover International Speedway.
This weekend marks the opening race of the second round for Cup and the first-round elimination race for the Xfinity Series.
Today’s action at the 1-mile track includes two practice sessions each for both Cup and Xfinity.
Here is today’s schedule with TV and radio info:
(All times are Eastern)
9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage open
10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. – Cup garage open
12:35 – 1:25 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)
1:35 – 2:25 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network)
2:35 – 3:25 p.m. – Xfinity final practice (NBCSN)
3:35 – 4:25 p.m. — Cup final practice (NBCSN, MRN)
With a casino that runs along the backstretch at Dover International Speedway, it’s not surprising that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and crew chief Brian Pattie did some big-time gambling when it came to strategy several times in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup playoff race.
While it was just barely, the gambling still paid off nonetheless: Stenhouse qualified to move on to the next round of the playoffs, finishing two points ahead of Ryan Newman, who was eliminated from moving on to the second round.
On Monday’s NASCAR America, our analysts — Parker Kligerman, Brian Vickers and Steve Letarte — gave their assessment of the strategy calls that put Stenhouse into the next round.
“It was a two-point battle. Brian Pattie, having the courage to make both those pit decisions is exactly what Brian and Ricky need to continue to do throughout the entire playoff sequence,” Letarte said. “They need to continue to be on whatever strategy that Brian sees fit to give him opportunity. He did it at Dover and it paid off.”
Added Kligerman, “It was just amazing, courageous calls by Brian Pattie and that 17 team. I just think this is one of the gutsiest, coolest drives I’ve seen in modern day NASCAR, knowing what they were up against and knowing Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was told this was one of the most important races in Roush Fenway Racing history, to get into the second round of the playoffs, and to get out and make it happen.”
Noah Gragson was the only driver to exceed 156 mph in the first of two scheduled Camping World Truck Series practices this afternoon at Dover International Speedway.
Gragson was the fastest of the 24 trucks that took to the one-mile Monster Mile, clocking a best lap of 156.209 mph.
Ben Rhodes was second-fastest (155.891 mph), followed by Austin Cindric (154.123), Matt Crafton (153.945) and Cody Coughlin (153.656).
Sixth through 10th-fastest were Chase Briscoe (153.126), Parker Kligerman (152.575), Christopher Bell (152.517), Todd Gilliland (152.433) and Johnny Sauter (152.336).
Today’s second practice will be from 4 to 4:55 p.m. ET. Like the first session, the second one will not be televised.
Click here to find out how today’s first practice played out.